Former Ruby Tequila’s head Foote in California prison
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The man former Ruby Tequila’s employees blame for the unexpected closure of all locations is behind bars, but not in Texas.
As KCBD previously reported, Ruby Tequila’s locations in Lubbock and Amarillo, along with Twisted Spigot locations, unexpectedly closed in 2017.
Employees claim the man who ran those businesses, Richard Kevin Foote, had not paid them in weeks and then took off.
Dozens of those employees came together to file a lawsuit against the corporations who employed Foote.
Their attorney, Jeff Blackburn, said they settled for an undisclosed amount.
“We signed an agreement, so I can’t go into the numbers, but I can tell you this, all of our people got not only all of the money they lost paid back, but I can tell you that they are very happy with the outcome,” Blackburn said.
The KCBD Investigates Team tracked Foote down in Orange County, California where he had just pleaded guilty to six counts of grand theft with enhancements.
He admitted to costing his business partners more than $400,000.
KCBD confirmed with the Orange County District Attorney’s office that Foote was sentenced to three years and four months in prison. He will receive credit for the 356 days he has already spent behind bars.
Foote was also ordered to pay $539,885 in restitution.
Foote is not an unfamiliar name to West Texas.
“Years ago, he did the same thing to a Bennigan’s restaurant in Amarillo and was never prosecuted. He made an agreement to pay back employees what he had owed them and they let him go. Now, in Colorado he didn’t fair so well. He has done prison time in Colorado for this, but in Texas, each time he has been let off the hook,” Blackburn said. “It’s astonishing that they chose not to go after him.”
According to media reports from 2010, a judge in New Mexico ruled that Foote and his Colorado-based restaurant group owed nearly $300,000 to a New Mexico non-profit that owned a building where the Colorado entity wanted to open a sports bar.
While Blackburn said the former Ruby Tequila’s employees now have what they were owed, it was a lengthy, expensive process.
“It’s wrong that it took us all that effort and all that time and all that energy and money just to get these people what was owed them under the law,” Blackburn. “It’s gross and evil.”
When the news of the unexpected closure first surfaced, KCBD attended meetings the employees had with Blackburn and his firm.
We interviewed one woman who told us she and her daughter both worked at the restaurant, so they lost two incomes overnight.
“We had to get on food stamps,” said Darci Ronan.
Ronan said employees received a text from management telling them they would be closed the next day and then re-open, but that never happened.
“In the end, what we saw was a very, very horrible, callous attitude towards these workers; they just didn’t care. These were folks that were living one paycheck to the next,” Blackburn said. “There would never had been a case against any of them if the companies who were profiting from them and had employed Foote had done the right thing and paid them."
Copyright 2019 KCBD. All rights reserved.